Vitalik Buterin, ethereum’s co-founder, has suggested the current Proof of Work (PoW) chain can be discarded fully by merging it with the new Proof of Stake (PoS) Beacon chain. He said:
“The eth1 system would ‘live’ as shard 0 of eth2 (eventually, we can adjust it to be one of the execution environments, but at the beginning it can be the entire shard).
Validators that want to participate in the eth1 system can register themselves as eth1-friendly validators, and would be expected to maintain an eth1 full node in addition to their beacon node.
The eth1 full node would download all blocks on shard 0 and maintain an updated full eth1 state.”
Previously the intention was to wait until full sharding which is some time away. Now Danny Ryan, eth 2.0 coordinator, says:
“IF we take this path (big if. this ethresearch post is for discussion purposes), Phase 0 and 1 will still be delivered as previously planned. This is more of a phase 1.5 to allow for sooner results on eth1 while fully ironing out phase 2’s final form.”
That suggests there won’t be any changes to the phase 0 genesis block launch, which is expected perhaps by June, with Buterin himself stating: “This specific proposal does not require scrapping any already-written code.”
When exactly this proposal’s implementation is to be expected is not clear, with Ryan somewhat jokingly stating “soon TM.”
Realistically it appears quite unlikely this would go out next year because it’s a huge change which will at first require the Beacon to be up and running without problems for some time.
Then all of this has to be coded, tested, audited, with sometime in 2021 perhaps being an optimistic estimate depending on just how it all progresses.
Once it does go out, however, ethereum’s issuance will drop to 0.22% from the current circa 4%.
Yet when exactly that is and even whether they can actually implement this proposal, is not clear.
The method of connecting chains by just running both nodes can potentially work, but we’re not aware of any running system that does it, except maybe the Lightning Network but that doesn’t quite have a blockchain.
Meaning this “merger” would effectively be the launch of sharding in a live environment. That would be a breakthrough.
The initial suggestion was to connect them through a finality gadget checkpoint, but as suspected they probably couldn’t really do that, so now the suggestion is… well sharding, but starting off with one shard instead of 64, which itself was lowered from 1024.
Details are sparse, however, but the earliest for this to actually be live is in our estimate late 2021.
That is based primarily on the fact the difficulty bomb is in the process of being delayed until 2021.
That’s because miners have already shown they have considerable influence over ethereum, perhaps even by the fact this difficulty bomb delay is being rushed through to the point the hardfork may occur on the New Years’ Day itself.
The Beacon Chain launch however shouldn’t be delayed by miners as that kind of has nothing to do with the PoW chain, but our suggestion was to leave the difficulty bomb running to have some sort of deadline for the genesis launch.
So it’s kind of pointless now to even provide estimates, but the spec should hopefully be frozen by January and the audit should hopefully be done by February.
So we first have to see whether either is the case before having a better idea of when the new chain might launch.